How to *Actually* Achieve Perfectly Dewy Skin

Hint: It ALL starts with a fresh (read: clean) face.

Woman smiling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's all over the runways and red carpets these days: that fresh, just-out-of-the-shower look that somehow appears lit from within. And contrary to what you might think, you don't need a professional makeup artist to achieve it at home. (Though obviously, they kind of know what they're doing.) We asked three industry professionals for their best tips for nailing that youthful, delicately dewy glow. The best part? The only tools you need are your fingers and a few great products, explains Laramie, makeup artist and owner of Book Your Look. How easy is that?

Step 1: Prep Your Skin the Night Before

First things first: Dewy skin starts with clean skin. "You can pack on as much makeup as you want, but if your skin isn't fresh, the makeup will never look fresh," Laramie says. The best way to get flawless skin? Exfoliate! Not only does this allow products like moisturizers to penetrate and do their best work, but it also prevents your skin from looking greasy. "I recommend using Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Universal Daily Peel first, then using a face oil like Drunk Elephant's Virgin Marula Face Oil overnight," she says.

A word of caution: If you have dry skin, beware exfoliating products like beads and scrubs, which can aggravate your skin. (Check with your dermatologist re: the best way to freshen up your face on the regular.) If your face is super parched, Alana Wright (a New York-based makeup artist at Wink and Blow Makeup) suggests using a hydrating mask before that nourishing face oil to ensure your skin is reaping all the nutrient- and moisture-rich benefits.

Step 2: Don't Forget the Eyes

Eyes that look bright and un-puffy are key to creating a natural, youthful look. To keep that delicate skin happy, massage your favorite eye cream (we love Estēe Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator) all over the eye orbital. Use a pinky or ring finger to avoid pressing too hard, Wright adds.

Two women with dewy skin.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 3: Prime Your Base

In the morning, turn that zombified slapping-on-sunscreen routine into a mini-facial. "Take a few extra minutes to actually massage the products into the skin," Wright says. "If you simply slather them on, they're probably just sitting on the surface and not absorbing into the skin, making them ineffective."

First, apply a vitamin-rich serum like Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil to seriously boost your skin's radiance, says London-based makeup artist Philipp Ueberfellner. Next, layer on a lightweight moisturizing primer with SPF; Ueberfellner likes Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Perfect Primer. "It evens skin tone and blurs fine lines and imperfections," he explains. If you have majorly oily skin—the kind that could careen past dewy and land squarely in Shiny T-Zone Cavern—swap in a mattifying primer like Illamasqua Matte Veil, Ueberfellner suggests.

Step 4: Color Correct

Next, apply a tinted moisturizer or foundation to even out skin tone and seed that pretty sheen. Laramie recommends mixing Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow Skin Illuminator with a moisturizer for a dewy finish. Not into DIYing? Ueberfellner recommends Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for those who don't need much coverage, and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation for the days when you need some additional camo.

Two women pose for the camera

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 5: Strategically Highlight

Add luster with a subtle highlighter that will catch the light beautifully, like L'Oréal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Highlighter, applied on key areas of your face. "Dab some highlighter on cheekbones, brow bone, down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid's bow," Ueberfellner says. If you don't want to invest in another cosmetic product, sub in a swipe of coconut oil (yes, the kind you have in your pantry) in place of makeup for a subtle sheen.

If necessary, apply a satin-finish concealer to any under-eye circles. "Neutralizing any natural darkness around the eyes promotes a natural brightness," Wright says. She recommends NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer or Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.

Step 6: Add Some Pigment

Yes, you want a natural look, but the last thing you need is to appear too one-dimensional. Sidestep this with a wind-blown, rosy cheek. "I use a dab of creme blush, like Tart Cheek Stain, in a natural hue to bring some life back to the complexion," Wright says. If all you have on hand is powder blush, forgo it entirely and, instead, blend two shades of lipstick together on your hand and spread that lightly on your cheekbones. It'll have the same creamy effect!

Collage of beauty products

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Step 7: Keep Your Look Natural

Let your skin do the talking. "This look is supposed to give the impression of just naturally healthy, glowy skin," Ueberfellner says. "You don't want it to look too made up. Your skin can be the main attraction just by itself." To complete the look, Laramie says, "All you need to do is brush up and fill your brows with a brown pencil, curl your lashes, add a couple coats of mascara, hydrate your lips with a simple lip balm, and you're out the door."

Step 8: Blot Away

Ideally, a good primer will make your look last from dawn 'till dusk. But here in the real world, Ueberfellner suggests blotting the oil-prone T-zone with tissue throughout the day to prevent the dreaded shine. If you need a bit more control, he recommends using the tiniest bit of powder. "Vichy Laboratoires Dermafinish Setting Powder is amazing," he says. "It controls the shine but doesn't eliminate the glow and has a really silky texture."

Two women pose for the camera

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Remember to make it your own

Sure, you can follow our steps to the letter and you'll look fantastic–but beauty is not one-size-fits-all. "Treat your foundation like any other fashion accessory: mix and match," Wright says. Beyond the skin prep and illuminating highlighter, everything is optional. It's your face, ladies, and you can do what you want.

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.